The other night I disconnected my battery, then reconnected it a short time later. It turned out I removed the positive cable by accident because it sparked a little when I put it back on.
The negative cable appears to be hidden on the other side of the battery underneath the plastic cowl thingy, so how the hell do you remove it without removing the battery?
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Just so you know, you will get this even when reattaching the negative terminal if something in the car is drawing power (like the interior lights, for instance, if you've left one of the doors open).
That aside, I often think that with the way these cars are 'designed', Ford must employ Homer Simpson. Some of the issues you encounter when working on them are just laughable and it boggles the mind that somebody in that position could ever design a car in such a stupid manner.
You said you didn't get any sign of life from the output on the control module, but I'd urge you to recheck this. When I did mine I noted that there was a signal coming through but only briefly every 30 seconds or so, and only one one of the pins but I can't remember which one. I don't know the ins and outs of how the system works but the upshot is, that was on a working control module.
And yep, James is correct - I know the fan on my mondeo quite intimately, as I'm on my 4th one in two years. Got sick of the crappy Ford ones and have a 14" universal fan in there now. Required a few of the mounts sawing off to get it into the fan chassis (held on with zip ties), and a little light soldering to attach the old fan plug to the bare wires of the new fan, but it works like a charm, and a hell of a lot better than paying Ford nigh on £200 for a new bespoke unit, which only does the same job.
It's not just Fiestas - every Ford has been notorious for rusty arches.
I did the arches on my Focus (and my Escort, and Fiesta) and never used any kind of degreaser. All I did was rub it down, get a bit lairy with the Kurust, then filler, sand, prime, paint, topcoat.
The problem is the 'lip' at the edge of the wheel arch - it fills up with dirt, which gets/stays wet, and causes rust to eat through from the inside - not helped by the stupid carpet wheel-arch liners used on a lot of Ford which serve little purpose other than to hold even more moisture. If you have rust on the outside then it will almost certainly come back at some point. All you can really do (short of replacing the whole panel) is repair it as best you can, then treat the inner wheelarch with Waxoyl to repel water.